Amid the latest round of allegations by U.S. and U.K. officials, Huawei has fought back in a tougher tone and demanded an end to the accusations.
William Plummer, the company's vice president of external affairs, demanded its critics "shut up" if they were unable to produce any concrete evidence to back up ongoing claims Huawei was spying on behalf of the Chinese government. According to a Sina news report Friday, he called a latest round of allegations from a U.S. official discriminatory and defamatory.
Plummer was referring to comments from former head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Hayden, alleging Huawei provided information to the Chinese government. In an interview with the Australian Financial Review newspaper published Thursday, Hayden said the telecom equipment maker shared "intimate and extensive knowledge" of foreign telecommunications systems it was involved with, according to a transcript on Bloomberg.
The Chinese company denied any wrongdoing.
Huawei's global cybersecurity officer, John Suffolk, said in a statement to Reuters: "Huawei meets the communication needs of more than a third of the planet, and our customers have the right to know what these unsubstantiated concerns are.
"It's time to put up or shut up," Suffolk said.
The company's vice president of international media affairs, Scott Sykes, added in a separate statement to Bloomberg that Huawei was a "proven and trusted" information and communications technology vendor. "These tired, unsubstantiated, defamatory remarks are sad distractions from real-world concerns related to espionage, industrial, and otherwise," Sykes said.
Hayden's claims came just a day after the U.K. government announced plans to investigate Huawei's construction of a cybersecurity testing facility in Oxfordshire. It said it would examine the role of Huawei staff at the center to maintain "confidence" in the security ofthe U.K. telecommunications network.
In January, Huawei systems were removed from a top nuclear weapons labs in the U.S. over security worries.
Concerns over links between Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers, specifically Huawei and ZTE, were raised last year when the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee said these Chinese vendors should not be permitted to do business with U.S. businesses and government.
In an interview with ZDNet at Huawei's Shenzhen headquarters earlier this week, Sykes said the U.S. market had proven to be a "commercial disappointment" due to trade protectionism, xenophobia, and politics on the part of the U.S. government.